Pataaka Hand Gesture (Mudra)

September 21st, 2007 by Anjali

Pataaka means “Flag”. Pataaka is done with all fingers held straight like the Stop sign. There should be no gap between the fingers. Following are the uses (viniyoga) of Pataaka:



Lets see the Viniyoga shloka (sanskrit verses that explain the uses) :

Natyarambhe varivahe vanay vastunishedhane
Kuchastale nishayam cha nadya-mamaramandale

Turange khandane vayo shayane gamanodyame
Pratape cha prasade cha chandrikayam ghanatape

Kavatapatane saptavibhaktyarthe tarange
Vethepraveshabhavepi samtve chagaragake

Atmarthe shapathe chape tushnibhavnidharshane
Talapatre cha khete cha dravyadishparshane tatha

Ashirvadekriyayam cha nrupashreshthasya
Tatra tatreti vachane sindhyo cha sukrutikrame

Sambhodhane purogepi khadgarupasya dharane
Mase sanvatsare varshadine sammarjane tatha

Evamartheshu yujyante patahastabhavanaha

It says Pataka Mudra is used to denote the following ;

  • At the beginning of Natyarambha
  • Clouds
  • Forest
  • Denial of objects
  • Bosom
  • night
  • river
  • Realm of Divinity
  • Horse
  • Cutting
  • Wind
  • To show one is going
  • Prowess
  • Bless
  • Moonlight
  • Fierce heat
  • Pushing and opening the doors
  • Vibhakti
  • Tides
  • Entering the lane
  • Equanimity
  • Smearing oneself
  • Taking oath
  • Silence
  • Palmarya Leaf
  • An ideal king
  • To show a location
  • Sea
  • Series of meritorious actions
  • To address some one
  • Step forward
  • grasping a sword
  • Month, Year
  • A drizzly day
  • A sweeping with broom

The gesture is mainly used in Sarikal Adavu & Murka Adavu.

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Leave A Comment

24 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Arun Pillai Oct 1, 2007 at 10:38 am

    Thanks for sharing them. Though am not aware of these gestures and in fact bharatanatyam itself, i appreciate this art to the core. Unlike the common modernized ones which everyone get to see in movies and channels, this has a class of it own. Amen to this art form and the people who carry it forward.

  • 2 radha May 27, 2008 at 4:56 pm

    Hi, i wonder if u could post a movie on the uses of the hastas viniyoga along with the sloka. i liked all those instructional adavus by various artistes, maybe u could do it for the theory?

  • 3 Sheela Oct 17, 2008 at 8:53 am

    How do you show month using pathaaka?..I mean what is the position the hasta is to be held to depict “month” ?…could you please let me know…thanks

  • 4 Anjali Oct 20, 2008 at 9:00 am

    There are various interpretations to it. I hold the Pataka hasta close to the right shoulder for a month, the inner palm facing the left side.

  • 5 shreeya satwe Oct 2, 2009 at 8:49 am

    i am living in pune and i am having class of bharatnatyam i love it my teacher is vaishali parasnis sucheta chaphekar great student my 2 year is going on &i am still 11 years old but i like western dances also not kathak in our school there is kathak but i dont keep attention because i dont like kathak i just hate western &bharatnatyam till now i have studied till natadav 7 my class is on sat & sun

  • 6 Bea Apr 12, 2010 at 10:33 am

    I would love it if you were able to put up pictures or even better a video of the uses of pataka.


  • 7 rajani May 15, 2010 at 7:32 am

    Anjali, your website and dancing lessons are so nice. I need some help for Pataka hand gesture series, like natyarambhe, varivahe, vane–I need actions of these, can you help me where could I get?

  • 8 Anjali May 16, 2010 at 5:42 am

    @rajini:The site will be updated with these information soon. meanwhile you can refer Cd’s on hasta abhinayam called “bharatanatyam percepts and practice”available in the market.

  • 9 kousalya Sep 8, 2010 at 5:34 am

    Your website is very nice

  • 10 Kavya Sharma Sep 18, 2010 at 8:43 pm

    Nice information shared. I’ve also been learning bharathanatyam for the past 9 years and I’m enjoying it. It has brought peace to my mind and body. So for all those who feel that classical dance is a bore, try and learn it. You will yourself come to know about the art and its status.

  • 11 Amy Olivia Jan 14, 2011 at 6:28 am

    Anjali, This is very very professional work! Congratulations!

    I registered and logged in for my 8 year old daughter.

    I want to make a contribution,
    financial and in terms of time.

    Thank you and God bless.

  • 12 Anjali Jan 14, 2011 at 10:36 am

    Thank you very much Amy!!! and I wish good wishes to your daughter.

  • 13 sarmina Feb 5, 2011 at 2:30 pm

    Have you hands mows with FULL ” Viniyogangal ”?

  • 14 Navaneethakrishnan May 11, 2011 at 2:23 am

    The pathaka hastha mudra, following part…

    Kavatapatane saptavibhaktyarthe tarange
    Vethepraveshabhavepi samtve chagaragake

    it has to be angararaadhake.

  • 15 Anjali May 11, 2011 at 3:46 am

    @Naveetha, thanks for bringing to my notice. And its Angaraagake. (only one ‘ra’.)

  • 16 bulbul Jun 22, 2012 at 11:11 am

    hi , can u pls let me know if i can get all the viniyogas sloka in sanskrit version as it is difficult for me to know the right pronounciation in english version.

  • 17 umakadam Sep 23, 2012 at 7:49 am

    its fantastic.and thanks for

  • 18 shreya Nov 30, 2012 at 9:11 am


  • 19 Ganga Bhavani Dec 5, 2012 at 8:36 am

    Really nice mam. its very useful to learn. and thank you so much for this.

  • 20 pooja chothe Jul 24, 2013 at 11:32 pm

    hi i love bharatnatym plz one reqest 2 u the images of viniyoga shalokha plz send on it

  • 21 unnikrishnan Oct 30, 2013 at 2:21 am

    veri helpful for learning studants

  • 22 r.reynoj Nov 6, 2014 at 2:59 am


    you are my

    teacher from heaven

  • 23 soumya Jun 10, 2015 at 8:31 pm


  • 24 shari vimal narayan Feb 12, 2017 at 8:04 pm

    Hi Anjali, I am quiet impressed and also surprised by the way you have detailed each and every spandanam of Bharathanatiyam. I am trying to refresh my Bharathanatiyam knowledge . Thanks for such a brilliant work.